Here’s what’s happening Thursday in Syria: Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, in an interview with The Associated Press, said the civil war was likely to “drag on” because of outside support for groups opposed to him. Rebel-held parts of Aleppo saw some of the worst bombings after the collapse this week of a nationwide cease-fire. In New York, diplomats from the U.S., Russia, and other countries were set to meet to discuss a possible resumption of the truce. The U.N., which suspended humanitarian deliveries this week after an aid convoy was struck, said it would resume those deliveries.
Assad has granted few interviews to Western news organizations since the civil war erupted more than five years ago. In his comments to the AP, Assad said the he doesn’t believe “the United States will be ready to join Russia in fighting terrorists in Syria.” He also rejected U.S. claims that a Syrian or Russian airstrike hit a humanitarian aid convoy this week near Aleppo, killing 20 people, and said the U.S. deliberately struck Syrian soldiers in Deir el-Zou last week, during the cease-fire, killing 60 of them. But it’s his remarks about when the protracted conflict, which has claimed more than 300,000 lives and spawned a massive humanitarian crisis, will end that are likely to garner most attention.